Pierce ready for debut

Pierce ready for debut
December 31, 2011, 12:12 am
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BOSTON Paul Pierce tweeted earlier this week that he was "very close" to returning to the floor for the Boston Celtics.

"Close" has been replaced by "now," with Celtics coach Doc Rivers confirming that Pierce would be in the starting lineup tonight against the Detroit Pistons.

Pierce has missed the first three games with a right heel bruise injury suffered shortly before training camp started.

His return means that Sasha Pavlovic, who started the first three games, will be back to the bench where he will fight for minutes with Marquis Daniels.

The backup wing position will get even deeper in the coming weeks when Mickael Pietrus (knee) is healthy enough to resume playing.

"He's healthy, which is good," Rivers said. "He just has to get his knee stronger. But it's good to see him. He looks in great shape, which is good."

Pietrus acknowledged that even before he was waived by the Phoenix Suns, he already had his mind made up that he wanted to sign with the Celtics.

And while he wants to get on the court as soon as possible, he understands that his value to the C's is greatest later, rather than sooner.

"I am going to listen to my body," Pietrus told CSNNE.com. "Around here, you play to be healthy in June. That's why they got 17 banners."